Monterey, CA asked in Copyright for California

Q: I need to know if I can use my mother's first husband's name in my screenplay without his permission.

I am writing a biographical screenplay about my mother. She was a famous romance novelist. She passed away in November, 2019. She divorced her first husband for cheating on her. Afterward she met my father. I have two half sisters and a full brother. My sister doesn’t want me to use her father’s or her name. Her father is still alive. I need him in my script. I need to be factual. My sister does not want me to use her father’s name because he cheated on her and she knows it. What can I do?

Related Topics:
1 Lawyer Answer
Robert P. Cogan
Robert P. Cogan pro label Lawyers, want to be a Justia Connect Pro too? Learn more ›
  • Intellectual Property Lawyer
  • San Diego, CA
  • Licensed in California

A: Writing about a living person can raise issues of defamation, right of publicity, and false light, among others. There are many ways to do it wrong and a few ways to do it right. Some details may just have to be left out. A more complete statement of facts and a careful analysis by an attorney would be required.

Justia Ask a Lawyer is a forum for consumers to get answers to basic legal questions. Any information sent through Justia Ask a Lawyer is not secure and is done so on a non-confidential basis only.

The use of this website to ask questions or receive answers does not create an attorney–client relationship between you and Justia, or between you and any attorney who receives your information or responds to your questions, nor is it intended to create such a relationship. Additionally, no responses on this forum constitute legal advice, which must be tailored to the specific circumstances of each case. You should not act upon information provided in Justia Ask a Lawyer without seeking professional counsel from an attorney admitted or authorized to practice in your jurisdiction. Justia assumes no responsibility to any person who relies on information contained on or received through this site and disclaims all liability in respect to such information.

Justia cannot guarantee that the information on this website (including any legal information provided by an attorney through this service) is accurate, complete, or up-to-date. While we intend to make every attempt to keep the information on this site current, the owners of and contributors to this site make no claims, promises or guarantees about the accuracy, completeness or adequacy of the information contained in or linked to from this site.